day 4: cranberry coffee cake

A while ago (like a really long time ago. around Thanksgiving…) I bought cranberries because they were on sale, and I had this delusion that they were gonna taste like hydrated craisins.

so I was super disappointed when I had one and it was so sour and astringent that I felt like my face was shriveling up. And then feeding the rest to Qiao didn’t work, so I looked up a bunch of cranberry recipes. Most of it was cranberry sauce/jam/liquid cranberry stuff, which I wasn’t super into because what would I do with that much cranberry sauce? The only cake recipe that looked semi-decent involved Greek yogurt, and I decided to ignore that one, because Greek yogurt. So I pushed the whole bag to the back of the freezer and proceeded to forget about it.

(for five months…)

But I kept that coffee cake tab open on my browser for an inordinate span of time instead of throwing it onto the arid wasteland that is my pinterest collection, because I like to trick myself into thinking that I’ll actually end up making the random stuff that I find on the internet. And because I use it so rarely that I forget I even have a pinterest.

And then a few weeks after I finally convinced myself to close the tab, I realized I COULD make the cake. So I had to Google it again. And then I found an even better recipe involving streusel. Moral of the story, sometimes life works out really well.

(time to find something to do with that pumpkin puree from around Halloween…?)

 

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/cranberry-coffee-cake/ <- the super cool recipe with streusel. Although I skipped the zest because I’m not fancy enough for that (coughlazycough) cut the sugar to about 3/4 cup.

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I baked the cake on parchment paper, which makes for kind of ugly pictures, but is so easy to remove. My brain even inserted a pop! sound effect. It only worked so well because the batter was so thick though – it felt almost like bread, and weighed down the paper really well. I tried to do the paper border on a angel food cake, and that failed miserably. It turned into this sad inverted cake thing. More on that tomorrow. Lesson learned, invest in an actual angel food cake pan, I guess. Or do cupcakes, apparently those work really well.

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I don’t know why this picture came out with so much blue light, but I quite like it. It’s like Hunger Games bread, or something.

Even though the streusel looks really great (har har patting myself on the back here…), I was kind of bummed because I ended up with SO MUCH LEFT OVER. Like enough to fill an old peanut butter jar, which is now hanging out in the freezer. I guess I should have anticipated that, because the original recipe called for a larger surface area = a flatter cake, so it would have used up more streusel. I used a loaf pan, which made for nicely square cake slices. I should have done two or three layers of streusel rather than just one…

On the bright side, I am now equipped to smother everything that goes into the oven with streusel. Provided I don’t forget about it…

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Baking in a loaf pan isn’t completely free of problems though – I’m not sure if this is a result of not baking long enough, or because the bottom of the cake’s been squished by the top half, but if you look at the bottom of the cake, right underneath the two cranberries, there’s this weird blurry bit. That’s not the lens’ fault – it looks like that in real life too. So I’m guessing I probably didn’t bake quite long enough.

(still tastes good though.)

And that squiggly brown line in the middle is a layer of streusel. See what I mean? It looks kind of measly… I should have done a thicker line of streusel, or maybe two lines instead of just one.

(still tastes good though.)

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and a fancy food shot, just for you.

 

So I stalled for a bit before remembering what I wanted to say. Then I had a lightbulb moment because I realized I haven’t talked about actually eating it. So far I’ve had it twice – once straight out the oven because I’m not boss enough to control my inner glutton, and once after it cooled.

Straight out of the oven, it was really sweet. Even after I cut the sugar down. I don’t know if this was a result of me eating something/not eating something before trying it, me having wimpy taste buds, or because it was hot? I can’t chemistry, so I have no idea. It also felt confusingly like really thick not-bread-not-cake.

But it tasted really good after it cooled. Nicely dense (I feel like more than one slice would sit like a stone in your tummy, though) and the perfect amount of sweetness. I think it’ll be one of those cake that actually gets better after a few days, on account of the denseness. I’ll update, probably. We can do an experiment – one slice a day, and we’ll see how long it takes for me to either finish the loaf or get horribly sick. With reports on taste/texture/deteriorating chemical makeup/number of bacterial colonies, or something.

Joking. Back on topic now.

The cranberries are still sour, but I’m starting to realize that’s just the fickle nature of cranberries. They like to be really sweet when dried and packaged in resealable plastic bags, but abominably sour otherwise.

I’ve got you figured out, Mr. Cranberry.

 

Also!

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Cynthia sent me a cute snapchat after I snapped her the cake!

I’m probably going to do another cake in a few weeks? maybe? Just to see if baking for longer will work. Not with cranberries though. Maybe strawberries? If that’s a good idea. And if I’m not absolutely sick of them. We’ll see.

 

Emily

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